Is your mom or dad at risk for failure to thrive? Adult failure to thrive is is not an uncommon condition in senior citizens. This is also a condition that many doctors have trouble diagnosing. Failure to thrive in adults (AFTT) is a condition where the adult/ senior is losing weight, is withdrawn, not very responsive, and seems very depressed. AFTT is a confusing situation for families of the adult with the failure to thrive. The reason it is confusing is because it was more commonly associated with infants, but it is becoming more and more common among the senior population.
Older adults are often given the AFTT diagnosis for a gradual decline in health without a direct explanation. Adult failure to thrive sometime is not immediately diagnosed because with the weight loss and poor nutrition an adult senior can be dehydrated and create other issues like a urinary tract infection or even an upper respiratory infection. These conditions will be the primary diagnosis at the time, but the underlying factor is the failure to thrive. In addition, AFTT can cause impaired physical or cognitive function.
The diagnosis of AFTT is frustrating, but there are things a caregiver can do to help with the fight of AFTT. Caregivers can keep a close watch on your loved one’s state of mind, if they have a bout of depression for no reason try talking to them, or notify their doctor. Check medications for side effects of decrease appetite. Keep track of what your loved is eating and drinking or not eating or drinking. Dehydration is dangerous in the elderly. Keep your loved one active. Activity is important for a healthy mind and body in anyone. In addition, social stimulation can keep individuals active and healthy, so communicate. Talk about memories, or the news, anything.
Hospice can help with adult failure to thrive if your loved one’s health continues to decline and become significantly disabled, spends most of their time in bed, and needs assistance with everyday activities, hospice care should be considered. Your loved one may be too much for you to care for by yourself. Many people don’t know that older adults can be admitted to hospice care following an AFFT diagnosis, and it can be a great option for care and increased comfort. Hospice will provide your loved one with a team of professionals, from trained nurses to take care of your loved one’s medical concerns, to aides that help with daily tasks.
Many people think of hospice as only for the final days of someone’s life, but this is a misconception. Under hospice care, some patients actually improve enough to no longer need the hospice team. To find out if hospice care might be the best choice for your loved one, ask their doctor. For more information on AFTT look at the following websites: